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Tue 19

October 19 @ 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm PDT

Voices of Dissidents – CNN & RDI in partnership with USC Center for the Political Future and USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy

USC Center for the Political Future

Location: Online

Authoritarianism has grown globally over the last decade, and the battle to preserve the soul of the free world rages on every day, even in the U.S. political arena.

Dissidents living in authoritarian regimes risk imprisonment and worse for even a fraction of the freedoms that American citizens enjoy. American principles have always inspired them. Perhaps now, their stories can inspire us. 

The USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future, the Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI),  CNN, and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy are proud to welcome three such standard bearers of democratic dissent to join a 1 hour 15 minute panel discussion.

Register at https://secure.everyaction.com/T5w3PLKkf06sY-R_I1M3yQ2. 

Discussion will focus on two elements:
1. The American responsibility in global leadership for freedom and liberty
2. The critical importance of preserving constitutional democratic principles in the U.S, including fighting back against both censorship in the marketplace of ideas and voter suppression at the ballot box. 

Moderated by:

Ben Rhodes-  Ben Rhodes has served as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting under President Obama, co-hosts the widely popular podcast “Pod Save the World,” and recently published his latest book “After the Fall: being American in the World We’ve Made.” Mr. Rhodes is also a former Fellow at the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future.


Evan Mawarire- Evan Mawarire is a Zimbabwean clergyman who founded #ThisFlagCitizen’s Movement to challenge corruption, injustice, and poverty in Zimbabwe. Through viral videos, the movement has organized multiple non-violent protests focused on inspiring positive social change and national pride in response to unjust government policy. Evan was imprisoned in 2016, 2017, and 2019 for charges of treason, facing 80 years in prison. Foreign Policy names Mawarire one of the 100 global global thinkers of 2016 and Daily Maverick of South Africa named him the 2016 African of the year. Evan is a 2018 Stanford University Fellow of the Centre for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law. He was also a nominee for the 2017 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards and the 2018 Swedish government’s Per Anger Prize for democracy actors. 

Masih Alinejad – Masih Alinejad is an award-winning Iranian journalist, author, TV broadcaster, and a human rights campaigner. She is the founder of the My Stealthy Freedom campaign against compulsory hijabs in Iran which has gained more than six million social media followers. Alinejad is also the author of the best-selling memoir The Wind in My Hair.  The New York Times has described Ms. Alinejad as “the woman whose hair frightens Iran.” The head of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Court in 2019 compared Alinejad to a “hostile government” because of her activities. Born and raised in Iran, Ms. Alinejad was a parliamentary journalist in Tehran, where exposed corruption among lawmakers and challenged political figures-including former President Ahmadinejad-in her newspaper columns. In 2009, she was forced to leave Iran for the UK where she produced multiple radio and TV documentaries on human rights abuses in the aftermath of the disputed Iranian presidential elections. 

Register at https://secure.everyaction.com/T5w3PLKkf06sY-R_I1M3yQ2.